[23 March/NZ Farmer]

To help stop the disease Mycoplasma Bovis travelling to the North Island, cattle crossing the Cook Strait will be checked from Friday. Minister of Agriculture and Biosecurity, Damien O’Connor, said farmers were not complying with their legal obligations under NAIT and that only 57 percent of farmers who record their animal movements do so within 48 hours as required. Fines of up to $10,000 can be issued for non-compliance, however since its introduction only one infringement of $150 has been issued. Mr O’Connor added the operation was likely to extend to other parts of the country and that he encouraged farmers to improve their compliance. He noted the disease is spread through movement of infected cattle from farm to farm. Federated Farmers Dairy Chairman, Chris Lewis, supported the move and called it a reminder to farmers to get themselves in line.